Among the many classical and contemporary works in the company’s repertoire, The Nutcracker, is perhaps the most well known, and is performed yearly during the Christmas season. The production is usually staged at the Phoenix Symphony Hall and is aided by the Phoenix Symphony orchestra.
The company was formed in 1986 after the merger of three smaller dance companies, the Phoenix Ballet, Ballet West Arizona and Arizona Dance Theater. All three companies were in financial difficulties due to lack of audience interest and funding. It was due to the efforts of Allen Rosenberg, an art lover and philanthropist from Phoenix, that a fusion of the three companies was orchestrated.
The new company was initially directed by Jean-Paul Comelin, who had previously been a part of the Stuttgart Ballet and the Milwaukee Ballet. Following Comelin’s tenure, Michael Uthoff became the next artistic director of the company in 1992, as it continued to grow into a strong dance company. The company also opened their dance academy, The School of Ballet Arizona during this time, and the school gained its first full time director in 1993.
Ib Anderson’s Tenure:
Uthoff firmly established the ballet as a strong dancing company, but financial troubles continued to plague the company. Following financial troubles in 1999, the company was about to be closed, but due to a funding campaign, the ballet was able to operate once more. Ib Anderson was appointed the new artistic director of the company in 2000, and has retained the post since then. He reshaped the company, guided it through difficult times and has now ensured that it is counted among America’s best.
Under Anderson’s directorship, the company’s repertoire of work has vastly increased and more contemporary works have been added. Works by famous choreographer George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp and Christopher Wheeldon were added including Anderson’s own work. Some of Anderson’s new work has been critically acclaimed and is now performed regularly by the company.
The Nutcracker is the annual traditional Christmas present which almost all major ballet companies in the country offer to the public in holiday season. Over the years, it has become an essential part of Christmas festivities in the US. Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky sensational music is given life by choreography from the ballet’s current artistic director Ib Anderson, whose interpretation of the ballet has been critically acclaimed over the years.
A holiday celebration for the whole family, the show features dancing toys, waltzing flowers, mischievous mice and sparkling snowflakes, as they dance to Tchaikovsky’s famous score. Aided by the Phoenix Symphony, the two hour long show will feature one of the most enduring loved ballet’s in American history being performed by one the best ballet companies.
So buy tickets to the show now and experience the beauty and magic of ballet while welcoming the holiday season and Christmas in the best manner possible.